Kitchen Trends from Architect Diana Melichar
The kitchen has continued to evolve as a personal expression of our lifestyles. Living and working at home, we are re-imagining how we dine-in and entertain.
The past two decades featured the white kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Today, we might view this stark approach to kitchen design as impersonal and cold. So lets see what is trending in 2023 and beyond..
Natural Materials and Connecting to Nature
More and more homeowners are electing for natural materials to create relaxing, earth centered spaces. Bringing nature inside their homes provides grounded energy. As the kitchen expands into our living spaces, cabinets are trending toward warm woods with their beautiful graining. Depending on your personal style, they may be lighter woods, such as beech, ash, or oak; or, darker, rich woods like teak or walnut. Natural wood cabinetry feels more furniture-like, and so it feels natural to combine our living and dining in the same space when we feature them.
Countertops are not just utilitarian anymore. Instead, we are using stone and quartz with more dramatic and expressive veining, patterns and colors.
Handmade products, such as artisan tiles are adding flair and texture. For example, for those looking for a special touch to their kitchens, Zellige tiles are replacing the ubiquitous subway tiles.
The Warming Touch
The kitchen as a sterile and cold place is gone. More and more, we are adding layers of color, textures, and finishes. Warmer tones with bold pops of color add playfulness and focal points.
Organic, saturated colors are particularly popular. Inky blues, dark forest green, and charcoal greys give a timeless feel, rather than trendy feel; and, these colors pair well with classic furnishings, natural accents, and transitional cabinet lines. Earth tones and rustic landscape colors are also trending. Rich browns, saffron yellows, and terra cotta colors are paired with neutrals, such as beiges and off-whites.
Speaking of white kitchens, they are not completely dead, but rather resurrecting in a different form. We are finding that neutrals, such as creamy whites and warm greys, rather than stark whites, are being used for the structure of the kitchen, and then accent colors are being incorporated into them. For playfulness, touches of bright yellows, oranges, and reds are included on islands, in backsplash tiles, and appliances. For a more subtle integration of color pops, dusty blues, greens, and pinks are being added.
For years the kitchen was ignored as a design feature of our homes. Now that folks are living and entertaining in them, we are approaching the design of our kitchens like other living spaces. Interior layering is being done, just in a different way than your typical living spaces.
The overall feeling of the kitchen is determined by our kitchen cabinetry selections. From decorative toe kicks and feet on cabinet bottoms, to armoire-styled cupboards, were seeing more furniture-like cabinetry in homes. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets are concealing small appliances, like coffee machines and microwave ovens. In-door fabric and metal mesh panels, as well as stained glass, are having a return appearance. Large appliances are oftentimes being paneled to match the cabinets as well.
Metals and glass are like fine touches of jewelry. A mix of metal types in one space gives a rich and inviting look. Accents of gold, antique brass, matte black, vintage copper, and even painted steel are being mixed and trending
Light fixtures are also making a statement. Although recessed lighting is still a mainstay in kitchens (for functionality), decorative lighting that mixes metals, and varieties of glass and shade styles are popular.
Lastly, folks are adding more personal touches to give our kitchens unique personalities. Open shelving to display special collections and artwork are bringing interest and depth to spaces.
Beyond the Kitchen
As more and more people are simultaneously living and working in their homes, they are also looking for ways to create spaces with more than one function. Additionally, creating personal retreats within ones home is increasingly important.
Coffee/cocktail bars with refrigerators and sinks are appearing, creating an oasis from the kiddos in the adult master bedroom suite. Typically they are located in a nook away from the sleeping area.
The traditional Butlers Pantry has morphed into a second, prep kitchen and food storage location. Small appliances have made a big splash in our consumer markets, and having a place to store those vitamixers, bread makers, slow cookers, instapots, air fryers and toaster ovens has become a necessity. Our countertops are vital real estate for food preparation, so having a second area for occasional appliance use is helpful to remove clutter in the main kitchen. Extra refrigeration, warming drawers, coffee bars, wine storage, and dishwashers are also making a home in this smaller kitchen.
Concealed, or hidden pantries, with sliding doors or matching cabinetry panels are having a heyday. Bulk food items and supplies of large quantities are located in close proximity to our kitchen for easy access, but they are tucked away and out of the bustle of our work spaces.
Outdoor kitchens and covered outdoor dining spaces (with outdoor heating) have become immensely popular. The outdoor kitchen extends the summer season, and gives a festive space for dining and entertainment. Outdoor grilling, smokers, pizza ovens, refrigeration, and sinks are becoming more the norm.
With a turn back to the earth and nature, herb and vegetable gardens are becoming an extension of the kitchen. Whether a designated window for herb pots, or easy access to the out-of-doors from the kitchen, more and more people are turning to organic, home grown freshness that they are incorporating onto their meal planning.
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